Just as the Royal (and Merchant) Navy players were getting their acts together, the calm was disturbed as the Kriegsmarine put in an appearance. Gneisenau leads, followed by Seydlitz (a Hipper class cruiser with 8 inch guns) and three destroyers. They had been delayed while waiting for the Admiral to return from the bar...
Lloyd once again led the steely-eyed fanatics of the Kriegsmarine. Newly promoted by the Fuhrer to the rank of Vizeadmiral, he is indeed a man of many vizes...
As the largest target in town, Gneisenau attracted a certain amount of unwelcome attention...
...but was quick to return the compliment. Here we see a turret's worth of 11 inch shells hitting Ajax.
Both British cruisers were well ahead of the convoy and made a brave show of taking on the Germans.
Many salvos were exchanged, and while the heavier German shells scored fewer hits they did generally penetrate the armour...
...while many of the hits on the Gneisenau barely scratched the paint.
Ajax takes more hits. This is an old hollow-cast model I picked up on Ebay - it actually looks like a shrunken 'County' class.
The plucky Ajax soon found herself mightily out-gunned.
Kent and part of the RN destroyer screen. One has just launched torpedoes.
HMS Afridi gets an extra porthole
Having got the Gneisenau all hot and bothered, Kent takes a hit. That foremast is looking a bit dodgy.
Afridi gets clobbered again. Ouch!
As the whistle of incoming 11 inch shells filled his ears, the captain of Kent launched his torpedoes. They all missed.
Kent sinks gracefully beneath the waves.
The action hots up.
With HMS Kent gone, all guns turned on Ajax. Clearly this wasn't going to end well!
Ajax finaly succumbs to the German gunfire.
At this point, with the German ships poised to get in among the freighters the Commodore ordered the convoy to disperse. None of the German ships had suffered any significant damage.
We concluded that probably half of the merchantmen would make it to Russia and that four of the RN destroyers would survive. Something of a German victory!
Surely it is only a matter of time before the Admiralty sends a task force to deal with this threat....
Awards are as follows:
Man with a plan - Lloyd (KM Admiral, Gneisenau)
Technical Merit prize for gunnery - Ian (Seydlitz)
Dogged Persistence award - Tony (Convoy Commodore)
Jack Hawkins award for coolness under fire - Frank (escort CO, HMS Kent)
Most Improved gunnery - Gunter (HMS Ajax)